When was the last time you updated your resume? In today’s job market and economy, it’s so important to have up to date skills listed on your resume. We all know that finding a job is hard enough, but add an out of date skill list and it becomes near impossible. Employers are looking for those job candidates who are not only qualified for the position, but who’s skills are up to date and those who have mastered those skills. Updating and improving your resume does take a bit of work, but if you’re really serious about taking your job hunt to the next level, it is work well worth it.
Resume writing does change from time to time, but for the most part, it all stays the same. It is more the styles that can change, but the basic information and needs stay the same no matter what year it is. Take a look at the tips below then update your resume as needed.
Keep your information current
Make sure that your info; your name (Did you get married?), address, phone numbers and email address, are up to date. Out of date info could cost you a potential interview or job position which defeats the whole purpose of a resume doesn’t it?
Quick Tip: Also, take a mindful eye to what information is displayed on your social media profiles. A lot of prospective employers (myself included) are turning to social media to learn more about future employees. There has been more than 1 person who’s lost the chance at a job due to their Facebook profile. Check your status updates, pics and any other area that they may have access to.
Proper Spelling and Grammar Matter
Anytime that you’re submitting something in writing, please be sure that it’s worded well and that you are using proper grammar. If you’re unsure of the way a word is supposed to be used, Google can be your best friend. Common grammar mistakes are a quick way to make it seem as if you’re uneducated, when you may in fact not be.
Quick Tip: Double check your use of commonly misspelled words. Specifically, your (as in “your car”) and you’re (as in you are driving); too (as in also), two (the number) and to (I’m going to the store); their (as in “this is their car”), they’re (they are going to the store) and there (She’s over there); and any others that you may have a problem with. (I have a problem with its’ and it’s so don’t feel bad if you have issues with any of these.)
Format Your Resume Properly
Be certain that your resume is easily readable. One of the worst resume’s I have ever seen was formatted so strange that it confused me so badly that my eyes almost literally crossed. I’m almost certain that was the point; to draw away from the lack of skills and job experience; but if your resume is confusing to read? It will only end up in file 13 (a.k.a. the trash bin).
Quick Tip: eHow has a very nice step by step guide available on how to correctly format your resume if you’re unsure of how it should be done. Microsoft also offers quite a few free resume templates available for Word that can be a huge asset as well.
Stay away from slang. Slang is fine when you’re hanging out with your friends. However, in no situation is slang acceptable on a resume. If you’re using slang on your resume or in an interview, your prospective employer is not going to take a second look (or listen as the case may be). No one wants someone representing their company professionally who can’t be trusted to use proper grammar when speaking.
Quick Tip: Brushing up on your vocabulary never hurts either. Dictionary.com is a great place to start.
Brush up on your professional skills
No employer wants an employee that they will have to re-train how to do something. Make sure that you are 100% up to date on whatever professional skills you may need. There are plenty of programs on the internet that will allow you to do this on a budget.
Quick Tip: There is a plethora of free programs on the internet that can be used for updating your skills. Need to brush up on your language skills? Check out LiveMocha. You can teach yourself any language that they offer…for free. You’ll learn from the same premise that the Rosetta Stone program uses. I personally taught myself to speak both Dutch and German for free with Live Mocha. Need to improve your typing? Check out Typing Web. Looking for college classes? You can get those FREE too! Check out Open Culture! They’ve got over 500 college classes, from major universities, all for FREE. LinuxZoo will help you teach yourself Linux Coding. There are so many programs that you could use to help. A quick Google search can help you find even more!
Look and Act Professional
Your resume is your very first (and sometimes your only) chance to impress a prospective employer. Remember that. If you don’t appear to be professional when you first contact them, the chances of them contacting you are slim. From the email that you attach your resume to, the cover letter that is faxed with it to your attire and hair if you hand it to them in person; it all matters.
Quick Tip: About.com has a really nice guide on how to email a prospective employer and Career Consulting Center has a really awesome guide on resume cover sheets.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
Lastly, be honest. Don’t try to make yourself seem more qualified than you actually are, don’t hide things from your past, just don’t lie. Period. Lying on your resume will only cause you heartache later on because you could potentially lose your job and with some employers, face criminal charges. Always be honest.
Quick Tip: If you have something in your past that you need to explain, its best to do so. Place the info on your resume if it’s pertinent then use the old “see attached sheet” note below it. Type your explanation on a separate sheet of paper, staple to the back and send it with your resume.